Alright so, I found this book for a quarter and couldn't really find a reason not to buy it. A 70's feminist book about how women use to run the world written by a librarian And boobs on the cover? Sign me up.
The First Sex by Elizabeth Gould Davis raised a lot of interesting thoughts, but you could really, really tell you were reading something written in the 1970's. Gould Davis often referred to the "American black" as below white people and seems to be a poster child for the Man-Hating-Feminist. She paints people and society in unbelievably broad strokes, and her message is that women are peaceful and wonderful rulers and men are basically shit-covered animals.
But, if you can get around that with a roll of your eyes and continue, she has more to say. Using a lot of references that I am certain are out-of-date, she posits that well before any record of our history, there was a society of highly evolved people and had already developed sea-faring ships and made scientific advances that would be forgotten from the world until our Galileo came around. This society was peaceful, environmentally friendly, and mostly vegetarian. It was pretty perfect, and all run by women. But those pesky men, dragging their knuckles outside of society came in and ruined everything and has, ever since, been doing his best to punish women for it.
Almost instantly I knew I could not take this book seriously. While I thought was she was saying was an interesting theory, and her reasoning seemed intriguing, I do not think that anything she says stands up on her account. I felt like she didn't fully explain her research a lot, not mentioning dates or just making blanket statements.
"It was brought law and order into a chaotic world by curbing and taming the beast in man and thus making civilization possible.'
The most interesting parts to me where were Gould Davis would get into evolution of the mythology and religion of the world. I was raised reading the Bible and I personally look at it as an interesting book that people wrote to make sense of the time they lived in, so my feelings were not hurt when Gould Davis tells us that Christianity was made up by women-haters. She expands on pagan mythology and how so many things line up with modern Christianity that for me was the best part of the book.
The overall message I got from this book was that humanity doesn't seem to know even a fraction of anything, even about ourselves. There is so much out there we will never know, such as the mystery behind the Piri Reis map. The map is a very, very accurate coastline of Antarctic that was copied from older maps. The problem with this is that parts of that coast line were suppose to be buried under ice sheets. How did those people make a map like that?What kind of ruins might be buried under the Antarctica soil? I've never even thought about Antarctica having soil under all of that ice, in my mind it was just one big ice cube and the Fortress of Solitude. Seriously though, it would be fascinating to know what those ruins (if they existed) could tell us. But that is just a small point in this very large book. And I do not really trust Davis Gould as a source on the matter.
If you are interested in reading about feminism's roots, as I clearly am, then read this one just so you can endeavor to never, ever sound like this. If not, then skip it.
Side note - it took me about half-way through the book to realize that the title must have been a response to Simone de Beauvoir's book, The Second Sex.